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Food prices skyrocket as drought bites

The ongoing drought in arable parts of West Pokot County, well known for production of food crops, has started sending residents into panic mode.

A spot-check by KNA in some of the areas revealed an acute shortage of green vegetables with the prices of the commodity soaring exponentially.

According to James Lomongin from Paraywa village in Pokot South Sub County, local residents have started running short of common vegetables such as sukuma wiki (kale), black nightshade (managu) and cabbages.

“Those with big families have to spend over Sh100 for them to afford green vegetables unlike other times when one would spend only Sh20 to get enough vegetables sufficient for a day,” said Lomongin.

He added that some families now opt to go for beef of a similar amount since it can serve a big family when prepared with a lot of soup.

The residents said the failure of the November short rains in the area caused many farmers not to plant vegetables owing to the drought.

They said only those farmers near water sources did manage to plant vegetables and added there is a shortage in supply to meet the high demand.

In Lelan ward, known for production of cabbages and Irish potatoes, the situation is the same owing to the ongoing drought.

The price of one cabbage is going at Sh50 and above in most markets in the region, as opposed to before where it used to go for Sh20 at most.

Irish potatoes at the Makutano market within Kapenguria Town are selling at a double price from the usual Sh50 for a two-kilogram tin.

“We have never bought a 2-kg tin of Irish potatoes at Sh100 like we are doing now. This region has been experiencing very low prices for the potatoes that are locally produced from the colder areas of Pokot South,” said Mercy Mnangat.

The residents are a worried lot should the drought conditions extend for two more months saying there will be a dire shortage of green vegetables and pasture for livestock causing many families to suffer.

By Richard Muhambe

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